Antoine Griezmann Joins The Atleti Exodus5 min read
Back in March, Bayern Munich announced that highly-rated Atletico Madrid centre-back, Lucas Hernandez, would be joining them in the summer for €80 million (£68m).
Then as the 2018/19 season progressed, club captain, Diego Godin, let it be known that he would be following the Frenchman out of the exit door.
Juanfran is leaving too, with rumours still consistently swirling around the talented midfielder, Rodri, and Saul Niguez.
Not to mention Diego Costa’s unhappiness at the Wanda Metropolitano or Filipe Luis’ nomadic desires resurfacing.
With all of this in mind, it’s perhaps understandable why Antoine Griezmann is set to join the Atleti exodus, just 12 months after making his ‘decision’ to stay in the red and white half of Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann was jeered by his own fans as he played his final match for Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 18, 2019
It was thought that the French World Cup winner would herald a new era of success for the Rojiblancos, but their season has been much the same as any other, with Diego Simeone’s men coming up short when it really mattered.
Griezmann has since indicated his own desire to move, and it’s believed that Barcelona are ready to meet his 120 million euro buyout fee a year after having their fingers burned.
Question marks are already being raised on three fronts, however, were he to complete a move to the Catalans.
Where he would play, given that the area of the pitch where he does most of his work is much the same as where we find Lionel Messi most weeks? Furthermore, can such a large fee be justified for a player that will be 29 next season?
In a meeting with the Atletico Madrid hierarchy, Griezmann explained to them that his reason for leaving was because Lionel Messi had called him.
‘I can not say no to Leo’ was Griezmann’s response. (Source: Marca) pic.twitter.com/G4HF6kVQ7g
— Transfer News (@TransfersLlVE) May 18, 2019
With La Masia players only fleetingly making their mark in the first team recently, the suggestion that this is another nail in the coffin for Barcelona’s academy starlets isn’t without foundation either.
If, as expected, Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt also pulls on the Blaugrana in 2019/20, clearly there needs to be a clear out at the Camp Nou.
Philippe Coutinho has been given more than enough chances to truly make his mark, and even the Brazilian will admit that things just haven’t worked out.
Barca won’t recoup what they paid for him, but with PSG apparently showing interest after Neymar’s intervention, there’s a possibility that the Catalans can recoup a sizeable chunk.
Malcom has hardly had a chance to prove himself but can still command decent money, so it’s expected that he won’t form part of the first-team beyond the summer.
Ivan Rakitic could head to Inter for north of €40m, and if Barca can find buyers for the likes of Rafinha, Denis Suarez and others, they’ll not be too unhappy with their business in the close season.
The fan base might though, given that the recent ‘galactico’ buying policy that’s been adopted over the last few years goes against the grain for many.
However, if Antoine Griezmann is the final piece of the jigsaw and can do what Coutinho hasn’t in helping to get Barcelona over the line in Europe, all will probably be forgiven.